Tony Greenstein | 05 July 2017 | Post Views:

In Nazi
Germany the state simply banned all ‘deviant’ culture.  In Israel it is more subtle  Political pressure is put on festivals not to
stage plays about the Occupation.  In
recent days she has threatened to cut the government’s 20% funding of the
Israel Festival because plays which include full frontal nudity harm “Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”  Quite how nudity threatens the security of
the state beggars belief.
Miri Regev (left) Israel’s Culture Minister, Joseph Goebbels (right) Nazi Culture Minister
Regev has threatened the funding of any group that refuses to perform events in
the Occupied Territories.  She
also froze
funds to an Arabic-language theater in Haifa for its production of a play that
she claims incites violence against Israeli soldiers. 
Culture Minister Miri Regev, a former military censor and
Brigadier-General, clearly has as her role model one Joseph Goebbels.  Culture must be seen to uphold the political
and national norms of the day.  Culture cannot
be subversive of the existing order but on the contrary act to reinforce the
message of conformity and loyalty to, in Israel’s case, nationalistic and
Zionist shibboleths. 
Regev is famous for
having called refugees and asylum seekers a ‘cancer’ in Israeli society.  [52% of Israeli Jews agree: African migrants are ‘a
]  When criticised for this comment, she
then apologised to cancer patients, for having compared them to asylum seekers.
we see how the conscious attempt to repress dissident culture in Israel is
taking its toll on one festival, in the city of Acre.

Banned Play on Palestinian
Prisoners, Throws Israeli Theater Festival Into Turmoil

director quits popular Acre Fringe Theater Festival after public steering
committee disqualifies ‘Prisoners of Occupation’
Ashkenazi Jun 05, 2017 8:35 AM
Einat Weitzman and Hassan Murad in ‘Shame.’ Very sad laughter. David Bachar
artistic director of the Acre Fringe Theater Festival resigned Sunday because a
play about Palestinian prisoners was disallowed by the event’s steering
Avi Gibson
Bar El informed the Acre municipality that he was resigning because the play
Prisoners of the Occupation” by Einat Weitzman was blocked by the committee.
Gibson issued a short statement about his resignation to the festival’s
artists. Afterward, Yosef Abu-Varda, a member of the festival’s artistic
committee, also resigned.
Avi Gibson Bar El. Moti Milrod
After six of
the eight ensembles that were to compete in the festival threatened to drop out
if Weitzman’s play was not restored to the program, it was no longer clear what
form – if any – the festival, scheduled for the intermediate days of Sukkot,
will take this year. Several of the production’s artists met over the weekend
to decide on how to proceed, and one of them told Haaretz that they planned to
stage their plays outside the Acre festival.
“This year
Acre will have the Miri Regev festival,” said the artist, referring to the
culture minister who denounces and threatens the funding of works she deems
unpatriotic. “The Fringe Theater Festival will take place in [another] city
that understands freedom of expression.”
producers, actors condemn ‘offensive’ move by Acre
The steering
committee’s disqualification of “Prisoners of the Occupation,” which deals with
letters and stories of Palestinian prisoners, angered some artists’
organizations. The Association of Independent Theater Producers and the Israeli
Actors Union supported for Gibson and several artists’ withdrawal from the
festival, and condemned the Acre municipality, which they called “offensive and
Craig Dershowitz
 “All the
years of its existence the festival has preserved freedom of expression and had
become a symbol of coexistence and cooperation,”
the two groups wrote in a
joint statement. “Last year Gibson got high praise from the public, the
critics, Acre residents and the municipality for the quality of the festival.”
They said it
was critical that the steering committee and artistic committee operate
separately. “From the moment the steering committee and the municipality choose
the artistic director, they should back him, even if the artistic content
doesn’t conform to their personal views, legitimate as they may be. [The
decision] shook up the entire festival and put its very existence in question.”
Yehoshua Sobol Rami Shllush
and director Yehoshua Sobol, who planned to have his play “Shkulim” staged at
the festival, told Haaretz the steering committee disqualified Weitzman’s play
“without seeing her pilot and without reading her text, because the text was
still being formulated. She submitted an idea and a pilot, and the
disqualification was based on the name of the work – ‘Prisoners of the
Occupation,’ and the name of the writer, who last year staged ‘Palestine – Year
Zero.’ The politocrats decided the subject had been dealt with enough, and
that’s the worst kind of censorship.”
In response,
the Acre Festival management called Gibson’s resignation “irresponsible and
evidence of his misunderstanding of his role and an outrageous lack of

statement added, “Gibson’s decision that year after year the main topic would
be terrorists with blood on their hands is evidence of a fixation and inability
to diversify.”

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